Why You Should Ignore a Publisher's Offer for FREE Advert Design

James Burchill

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I visited with a client today and during the conversation it became apparent they were having issues with their advertising – print advertising to be precise. They showed me the original advert and told me it cost them a little more than $1,700 to place the ad.

When I asked them who created the concept, the copy and the design – the client smiled and said the publisher had included it for free! Free is fabulous in marketing, but not when it comes to the design and production of your advertising materials.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who think the design of the advert and copy concept are not important enough to pay a professional to develop. They’ll spend thousands buying advertising space and they’ll skip over the design of the selling mechanism. Here’s an analogy that might help you see my point of view:

So you buy some ‘space’ where your prospective clients like to shop and they’re walking around happy and fat with cash – and what do you do now? Well, the smart move would be to place a professional sales person in the crowd, but no… you’re too darned cheap.

You look around (trying to save a buck) and pressgang the first warm body you can find in the office – and it’s Ethel the almost ready-to-retire cleaning lady who is adored by everyone for her friendliness, but she’s terrible at sales. But hey, you don’t care. You don’t believe the ability to sell or captivate the audience is important. You just bought the space where your clients shop, what more do you need?

Ethel is your advert. She stands there with her bucket and her mop and smiles. She’s friendly and talks to people who stop and wonder what she’s all about. The day drifts by and it’s time to go. Ethel has sold nothing – but she’s really friendly, and she was ever so cheap. Maybe if we buy the same space again tomorrow and put Ethel back – maybe then we’ll make some sales.

Put like this it sounds absolutely stupid – and yet every day thousands of business men and women make this decision. However, you can’t blame them – they have come to the conclusion that the advertising publisher, who is offering them the free design service, knows what they are doing. And the publisher does… they know how to sell advert space to you…by giving away free advert design!

Seriously, if you spend $1,700 on placing an ad and it generates no sales then was it worth it? If you spend and additional $1,000 on the services of a marketing strategist who develops the copy, concept and design and the resulting advert sells more product – was that worth it? I’d say so.

“Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish” as my Grandma used to say. And for those in North America that don’t get the joke it roughly translates into “don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish. ” An advert at any price which sells nothing is not worth it – no matter how cheap it was. And an advert that sells more than it costs is worth it – no matter the price you paid.

JAMES BURCHILL is an experienced Internet Marketing & Business Development specialist providing strategic and tactical solutions to select clients seeking to architect their on and offline marketing success. James is a published author, a passionate advocate of technology and the Internet, as well as an avid study of classical advertising and marketing strategies. Prior to establishing his own unique consulting practise, he served as VP of Professional Services and VP of IT & Consulting and implemented multi-million dollar solutions for Oracle, the British and US Governments, Rolls Royce UK and many others. James even taught Computer Science at one of Toronto's leading colleges and continues to coach private clients on a select basis. For more articles and information visit James’ blog at http://www.jamesburchill.com/blog or checkout his main site at http://www.jamesburchill.com


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